BUILT FOR SPEED: John Kliendienst of Grafton enjoys working on a cart for the Jacaranda Derby.
BUILT FOR SPEED: John Kliendienst of Grafton enjoys working on a cart for the Jacaranda Derby. Adam Hourigan

Dragging rights for billycart veterans

"WE HAD to figure out a way of stopping them."

That's the problem billycart builders John Kliendienst and Jim Larsen had to solve when tasked with building a pair of carts for the Jacaranda Billycart Derby on November 5.

"We think the carts we've built will have the speed, but the drivers will have to be able to stop them, or they could end up in the drain," he said.

Derby organiser Peter Alford approached the pair to build the carts for the derby to make sure they had some vehicles for people to use.

"We scrounged up some old 16-inch kids pushbikes for the wheels," Mr Kliendienst said.

"We got Roger Green to rebuild the wheels and put new bearings in. Then Jim and I went flat out building them."

He said using welded steel frames has made the carts strong enough to last some rough riding and also to make them last.

"We had to make them heavy enough so they didn't fail half way through the day," Mr Kliendienst said.

"But they're going to be fast I think. With those 16-inch wheels, that's about 20 inches with the tyres."

Which brings us back to the brakes.

"We could have used a foot brake, but with the size of the riders varying, we decided to used a hand operated brake system.

"We used the back wheel brakes from the bikes and put a little lever on the right of the driver.

"All he has to do is touch that it will lock up the back wheels."

Mr Alford was delighted with the carts and was sure the younger drivers would have some tales to tell after the event.

"There's going to be a few death wobbles," he said.

"It wouldn't be right if kids didn't go to school the next day without stories to tell."

He said the 260 metre track down the hill at Tyson St would be the ideal drag strip to test the billy cart makers' skills.

"There's no corner, like the Maclean billy kart track," he said. "It's the traditional straight race."

He said there are several challenges out there for businesses to challenge businesses and schools to challenge schools and there is even an open section, for the "big kids" at heart.

  • Schools Challenge (different age groups).
  • Novelty - decorative carts eg create your own Bat Mobile.
  • Battle of the Businesses.
  • Motor Mechanics and Truckie Challenge - for the fastest billy cart on South Hill.
  • Open section - for the big kids at heart.

View entry details and competition rules at www.jacarandafestival.org.au/events

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